Morning Stiffness: Overview
- ‘Morning Stiffness’ is a term used for a condition in which a person experiences pain in the joints and the muscles while taking the first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning. The condition gets better when the joints and muscles loosen up and the circulation of blood in the body improves, as daily tasks are undertaken by a person.
- The painful condition usually lasts for about one hour. However, in some cases, it can even last up to several hours, causing the most severe pain that a person can feel during the day. The pain can hinder or interfere with a person’s ability to perform day-to-day routine tasks and activities.
- Morning stiffness is generally considered a common problem linked to Arthritis. More specifically, it is one of the characteristic symptoms of diseases like Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or other inflammatory types of Arthritis. However, if morning stiffness lasts for a short duration — typically for less than half an hour — it is believed to be an indication of Osteoarthritis or some other non-inflammatory, musculoskeletal condition.
- Some of the common causes of morning stiffness are obesity, lack of daily physical activity, improper eating habits, bad sleeping posture, and sleeping in a cold environment.
Morning Stiffness: Ayurvedic Perspective
- According to Ayurveda, Morning Stiffness is caused by the accumulation of digestive toxins (Ama) in the body and the vitiation of the ‘Vata’ dosha.
- Ayurvedic experts believe that, due to the accumulation of toxins, the digestive process is hampered. As a result, Ama — the sticky, toxic waste product of incomplete digestion gets settled in the spine and joints, leading to pain and stiffness, especially in the morning. The accumulation of Ama for a long time can cause swelling and pain in the joints, with the condition generally getting aggravated in damp and cold weather.
- Meanwhile, the vitiation of the Vata dosha in people suffering from Morning Stiffness especially affects the ‘Vyana Vata’. Since the Vyana Vata governs the blood circulation and nerve impulses, its aggravation can cause joint-related problems, and conditions like morning stiffness.
The Ayurvedic treatment of Morning Stiffness focuses on the following aspects:
- Improving blood circulation
- Eliminating toxins and impurities
- Lubricating the joints
- Promoting cell regeneration
- Improving muscle flexibility.
How to deal with Morning Stiffness at Home
Morning Stiffness, in most cases, can be easily managed at home with the help of some time-tested remedies. Some of the common ways in which Morning Stiffness can be treated at home are:
1. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
A healthy, balanced diet is one of the easiest ways to deal with Morning Stiffness. A diet rich in calcium and Vata-pacifying foods can improve the flexibility of the joints, thereby reducing the severity of the symptoms of Morning Stiffness and its frequency of occurrence.
To deal with Morning Stiffness, people affected by the condition should eat whole grains, foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, freshly-cooked vegetables like spinach and root vegetables, juicy fruits, split moong dal soup, and high-quality organic milk. Sufficient amounts of water should also be taken during the day to stay hydrated.
2. Sleep in a Comfortable Position
Getting a good night’s sleep can be very beneficial in managing Morning Stiffness. People suffering from the condition should follow healthy sleeping habits; and should sleep in a comfortable position, preferably sideways with a pillow between the knees. For high-quality sleep, the bedroom should be dark and quiet, and all types of screens (TV, mobile phone, etc.) should be avoided at least one hour before sleep. The intake of caffeine should also be reduced.
3. Use Heating Pads or Hot Packs
The use of heating pads can also be very useful for dealing with Morning Stiffness at home. The application of heat/warmth to the joints for around 15 minutes can reduce the discomfort linked to the condition, relax the muscles, and increase the circulation of blood to stiff joints. Besides using heating pads, a hot shower to target the areas of stiffness can also be equally effective.
4. Use Cold Packs
Using cold packs or ice packs to the joints can also help to reduce Morning Stiffness. The application of cold packs is particularly beneficial in reducing pain and swelling of joints. Cold packs, when used for 10-15 minutes, can numb the pain and provide much-required relief from stiffness.
5. Do Gentle Exercises Regularly
Morning Stiffness can be managed by doing gentle exercises for nearly 30 minutes, at least five times a week. Physical activity keeps the muscles strong and enables them to support the joints. Moreover, exercise can also help in fighting obesity, improving sleep, and uplifting the mood. Some beneficial exercises for dealing with Morning Stiffness are Motion stretches like rolling the shoulders and ankles in a circular motion, yoga, swimming, and elliptical cycling.
6. Reduce Stress
Reducing stress caused by difficulty in movements due to Morning Stiffness is very important for dealing with the condition effectively. People affected by Morning Stiffness should seek help from their family members in coping with the condition, especially when they feel extreme pain while doing household tasks. For reducing stress, meditation and focus on breathing can be very beneficial.
7. Try Massage Therapy
Daily massage with Ayurvedic oil (‘Abhyanga,’ as it is called in Ayurveda) is considered an excellent therapy for managing Morning Stiffness. Regular massage with sesame oil, eucalyptus oil or any other herbal oil can improve blood circulation in the body, eliminate all toxins and impurities, lubricate the joints, reduce muscle stiffness, improve muscle flexibility, reduce stress, and promote cell regeneration.
8. Use Ayurvedic Herbs or Herbal Formulations
The use of herbs or herbal formulations can also alleviate the symptoms of Morning Stiffness. The most beneficial herbs for managing the condition include Giloy (Tinospora cordiflora), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Sonth (Zingiber officinale), and Shallaki (Boswelia serrata). These herbs have the ability to reduce joint pain and inflammation, enhance immunity, improve the digestive system, and rejuvenate the body.
Morning Stiffness can be effectively managed at home by making some important dietary and lifestyle changes and ensuring healthy sleeping habits. The above mentioned home remedies for treating Morning Stiffness are safe and effective. However, to achieve optimum benefits from the remedies, it is advisable to consult a renowned Ayurveda practitioner, so that the condition can be controlled in a timely manner before it becomes severe and leads to other problems.
For more Information, Please Visit www.planetayurveda.com